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Futures Slightly Green Ahead Of Today’s “Brutal” CPI Print

Futures Slightly Green Ahead Of Today’s "Brutal" CPI Print

U.S. index futures were little changed, if slightly in the green on Wednesday as investors settled into a wait-and-see mode ahead of today’s "brutal" CPI report which is expected…

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Futures Slightly Green Ahead Of Today's "Brutal" CPI Print

U.S. index futures were little changed, if slightly in the green on Wednesday as investors settled into a wait-and-see mode ahead of today's "brutal" CPI report which is expected to show the highest CPI print in nearly 40 years, a time when the fed funds rate was 11% compared to 0% now...

... and gauge the pace of Federal Reserve tightening. Consensus expects December CPI to show inflation climbing to 7.0%, a result which could see front- end fully price in a March rate hike (currently priced at 85%). Helping the overnight mood in Asia, was a moderation in China’s inflation pressures, with CPI dipping to 10.3% y/y in December, giving the central bank scope to cut interest rates to cushion the economy’s downturn just as most major nations look to tighten policy. At 730am ET, S&P futures were up 0.2% of 7.50, and Nasdaq futures rose 22 points or 0.14%, recovering toward Asia’s best levels; Dow futures were up about 0.1%. The dollar was slightly lower, extending on its recent sharp drop, while Treasury yields were steady.

“All we know is that the Fed has waited too long before taking action,” said Ipek Ozkardeskaya, senior analyst at Swissquote. “If today’s inflation print is higher than expected, recent gains in equities will melt like snow in the sun,” she wrote, even though investors seemed to put aside fears that tighter policy will stifle the economic rebound and market rally after soothing words from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell. His testimony Tuesday helped arrest a five-day slide in the S&P 500, just as we predicted it would.

As Deutsche writes, the highlight of the last 24 hours was Chair Powell’s renomination hearing before the Senate Banking Committee. The overall communicated stance of policy wasn’t much changed with the hawkish pivot still on. Nevertheless, there were a few incremental takeaways. Powell did nothing to push back on liftoff being on the table in March, in line with our US econ team’s call and the increasing probability implied by the market, which is currently 85%. He made it clear that QE (yes it’s still happening) would finish in March, despite speculations it may come to an abrupt halt beforehand. In line with growing consensus, he painted a picture that made the start of QT likely in 2022. Finally, on the overall stance of policy, he emphasized the Fed needs to pull back from extreme levels of accommodation, but didn’t need to rush to get to a neutral stance of policy.

“It was a masterful performance really, leaving the bowls neither too full nor too shallow, but just right from the financial market’s perspective,” said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at Oanda Asia Pacific, in an email. “The music can still play in equity markets in 2022, it’s just that we’ve likely seen the best of the technology gains.”

With three and possibly four Fed rate increases now priced in, strategists are turning more sanguine about inflation and focusing on positives such as the start of the earnings season. Markets have been buffeted by volatility at the start of the year on the prospect of faster interest-rate increases to subdue price pressures.

“Hawkish Fed repricing is likely largely done for now,” and “resilient earnings should help equities rebound,” Barclays Plc strategists led by Emmanuel Cau wrote in a note to clients on Wednesday.

Looking at the CPI print, DB's Jim Reid notes that repeated upside surprises in the inflation data have sent the year-on-year numbers up to multi-decade highs, putting significant pressure on the Fed. Indeed if you look at the monthly headline CPI reading, 7 of the last 9 releases have come in above the consensus estimate on Bloomberg. In terms of what to expect this time around, economists think that year-on-year CPI will rise to +7.0%, which will be the highest annual CPI number since 1982. And if that figure is realized, it would also mean that the real Fed Funds rate in December was around -7%, which for reference is lower than at any point in the 1970s, when the lowest the fed funds rate got in real terms was around -5%.

In the premarket, Dish Network Corp. rose more than 7% on a New York Post report of merger talks with DirecTV. PayPal shares dropped 1.9% in premarket trading after Jefferies cut its recommendation for the digital payments provider to hold from buy. Here are some of the biggest U.S. movers today:

  • U.S.-listed Chinese stocks rally in premarket trading, as Asian listings rebound amid bargain hunting and a reassuring tone from Fed Chair Jerome Powell. Alibaba (BABA US) +2.4%, JD.com (JD US) +1.5%, Pinduoduo (PDD US) +3.3%
  • Biogen (BIIB US) drops 9.1% in premarket trading after the U.S. government limited Medicare coverage of the company’s Aduhelm Alzheimer’s disease treatment and similar drugs to patients enrolled in clinical trials. The highly unusual move will curb access to the controversial treatment approved last year
  • Wells Fargo (WFC US) advanced in premarket trading as Piper Sandler upgraded its rating to overweight from neutral; cuts Premier Financial to neutral from overweight
  • Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY US) shares jump as much as 4.9% in U.S. premarket trading, boosted by disclosures of insider purchases of the retailer’s stock made on Jan. 7
  • Rocket Lab USA (RKLB US) started at overweight, with $17 target by Morgan Stanley, which says the company offers high-quality exposure to the space race. Stock gains 4.1% in premarket trading
  • Cogent Communications (CCOI US) faces a “challenging setup” on weak growth and a high multiple, Wells Fargo writes in note as downgrades to underweight from equal-weight

European equities climbed back toward opening highs after a choppy first hour of cash trading. The Euro Stoxx 50 added 0.7%, FTSE 100 outperforms at the margin. Miners, oil & gas and tech are the strongest performing sectors.  In Europe, mining and technology companies led the Stoxx 600 Index up 0.5%. Philips slumped 14%, the most in two decades, after the Dutch producer of medical equipment reported lower preliminary revenue than expected. Here are some of the biggest European movers today:

  • Rexel jumps to an eight-year high after the French maker of electrical products said 2021 organic growth will be higher than forecast with Citi noting positive demand comments from firm.
  • VAT shares post their steepest gains in more than a month after the Swiss supplier of products for the semiconductor industry reported 4Q order intake that was well above expectations.
  • DFS Furniture shares gain as much as 6.4%, among the top advancers in the FTSE All-Share Index, after the U.K. retailer kept its FY pretax profit forecast unchanged.
  • Just Eat Takeaway stock rises after initially falling following an update. Citi analysts say the online food delivery firm’s 4Q results are broadly in line with an expected deceleration.
  • TeamViewer shares rise as much as 15% in Frankfurt after the company reported 4Q and FY billings that beat market expectations with RBC calling the results “reassuring.”
  • Sainsbury shares rise as much as 3.9% after the U.K. grocer boosted its outlook for the year. Profit delivery is strong, according to Jefferies.
  • BHP Group and European mining peers are among the biggest gainers Wednesday with UBS saying in a sector note that shares are cheap -- but valuations are not compelling.
  • Sweco shares fall as much as 6.8% after Danske Bank downgrades to hold from buy, noting “stalling execution” despite solid market demand for the engineering consultancy’s services.
  • Taylor Wimpey shares drop as much as 2.2% after a holder sold about 86m shares in the company at 163.75p apiece, representing a 3.7% discount to Tuesday’s close.

Earlier in the session, Asian stocks climbed to their highest level in almost seven weeks as Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s remarks spurred expectations that anticipated rate hikes won’t derail the global economic recovery.  The MSCI Pacific Index added as much as 1.6% to its highest since Nov. 26, bolstered by gains in the consumer-discretionary and information-technology sectors. Alibaba Group and Tencent Holdings were among the biggest contributors to the measure’s rise. Benchmarks in Hong Kong and Japan led gains for the region.  Powell pledged to do what’s necessary to contain an inflation surge and prolong the economic expansion at his confirmation hearing for a second term as U.S. central bank chief. Futures on the S&P 500 advanced in Asia trading after halting a five-day slide. A gauge of Chinese technology shares rallied after the Nasdaq 100 outperformed major benchmarks.  “The market view is that containing inflation with early rate hikes will turn out to be good for the economy -- that we’ll be able to push back on inflation while keeping the economy strong,” said Naoki Fujiwara, chief fund manager at Shinkin Asset Management in Tokyo. “Before, the market had been reacting simply to the words ‘monetary tightening’.”  Asia’s equity benchmark is attempting a rebound following last year’s 3.4% slump, when the gauge was hit by concerns over U.S. tightening, Covid-19 and a selloff in Chinese tech shares. Solid gains during Wednesday’s session will likely help spread a sense of relief, according to Fujiwara.  “We think there’s more attractiveness here in Asia and EMs overall. And valuations are much more compelling given overall EM/Asia markets have underperformed compared to U.S. and Europe,” Ken Wong, Asian equity fund specialist at Eastspring Investments, told Bloomberg Television. “In 2022, there will be opportunities to be selective.”

Japanese equities posted their first gain in four sessions, following a similar rebound in U.S. peers after soothing comments from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell. Electronics makers and telecoms were the biggest boosts to the Topix, which closed 1.6% higher. Tokyo Electron and SoftBank Group were the largest contributors to a 1.9% rise in the Nikkei 225. Powell pledged to do what’s necessary to contain an inflation surge and prolong the expansion, while steering clear of fresh details on the path of U.S. monetary policy. The S&P 500 rose for the first time in six sessions. “The market view is that containing inflation with early rate hikes will turn out to be good for the economy - that we’ll be able to push back on inflation while keeping the economy strong,” said Naoki Fujiwara, chief fund manager at Shinkin Asset Management in Tokyo. “Before, the market had been reacting simply to the words ‘monetary tightening’.”

Indian stocks rose along with Asian peers after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell reassured investors that the U.S. central bank will tackle inflation to extend the economic expansion.  The S&P BSE Sensex climbed for a fourth day, up 0.9% to 61,150.04 in Mumbai. The benchmark is 1% away from surpassing its record high touched in October. The NSE Nifty 50 Index advanced by a similar magnitude.  Reliance Industries Ltd. rose 2.7% and was among the biggest boosts to the key indexes. Of the 30 shares on the Sensex, 24 gained. All but two of the 19 sector indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. rose, led by a gauge of telecom companies.  IT major Wipro Ltd. reported net income for the third quarter that missed the average analyst estimate. Tata Consultancy Services Ltd. and Infosys Ltd. are also scheduled to announce Oct.-Dec. earnings in the day

Australian stocks also rebounded as mining shares hit 5-month highs.  The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.7% to 7,438.90, with miners and health-care contributing the most to the benchmark’s gain. The materials subgauge led the rebound, hitting the highest since Aug. 17.  Afterpay surged after the company said that Block, formerly known as Square, has now received approval from the Bank of Spain in respect of the acquisition by Lanai AU 2 Pty Ltd. Domino’s Pizza Enterprises dropped to its lowest since May.  Official data Wednesday showed job vacancies climbed to a record in Australia, up 18.5% to almost 400,000 in the three months through November. In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.2% to 12,804.48

In rates,Treasuries were marginally cheaper across the curve, with the front-end underperforming ahead of December CPI release at 8:30am ET. Treasury 2-year yields higher by 1.8bp vs. Tuesday close while rest of the curve is less than 1bp cheaper on the day; 10-year yields around 1.74% with both bunds and gilts outperforming by over 2bp in the sector. Cash USTs bear flatten, cheapening roughly 2bps across the short end.  Session highlight also includes 10-year note auction, a $36b reopening: US auctions resume with a $36BN 10-year reopening at 1pm, followed by $22b 30-year reopening Thursday. The WI 10-year at around 1.745%, above auction stops since January 2020 and ~23bp cheaper than December stop-out which tailed 0.4bp. Elsewhere, bunds and gilts drift higher, with the 10y point outperforming. Bund futures regain 170. Peripheral spreads tighten slightly.

In FX, most G-10 currencies were confined to narrow ranges after the dollar’s drop yesterday and the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index hovered while the Treasury curve bear-flattened as yields rose by up to 2bps, while commodity currencies outperform but trade off best levels with G-10 FX generally trading narrow ranges.

Demand for long gamma exposure into the next Federal Reserve meeting remains subdued even as realized volatility stays relatively high. The Norwegian krone was the best G-10 performer, followed by the Canadian dollar, as oil steadied above $81 barrel after posting the biggest one-day surge this year as investors embraced risk assets, commodities climbed and industry estimates pointed to another drawdown in U.S. crude stockpiles. The euro moved in a tight $1.1355-1.1378 range and Bund yields inched lower, led by the belly of the curve. The pound treaded water as investors monitored London hospital admissions for any signs of an easing in pandemic pressures and questioned how much further the currency can rise when rate hikes are already priced in.Australian dollar edged up amid iron ore hitting a three-month high as heavy rains disrupted southeastern Brazil’s iron ore industry. Japanese government bonds rallied across maturities after a smooth five-year note auction, driving down benchmark 10-year yields from a 10-month high and the yen steadied. BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said he expects the country’s underlying inflation to pick up gradually over the long-term after moderate near-term gains led by energy prices.

In commodities, crude futures fade a modest push higher. WTI stalls after a test of $82, Brent trades near $84. Spot gold drifts slightly lower near $1,817/oz. Base metals are in the green with LME nickel up 4%. Bitcoin jumped back over $43K while ether was above $3,300.

Looking at the day ahead now, and the aforementioned US CPI release for December will be the highlight. Other data releases include Euro Area industrial production for November and the US monthly budget statement for December. From central banks, the Fed will be releasing their Beige Book, and speakers include BoE Deputy Governor Cunliffe and the Fed’s Kashkari.

Market Snapshot

  • S&P 500 futures up 0.1% to 4,710.50
  • STOXX Europe 600 up 0.5% to 485.30
  • MXAP up 1.6% to 196.29
  • MXAPJ up 1.6% to 641.50
  • Nikkei up 1.9% to 28,765.66
  • Topix up 1.6% to 2,019.36
  • Hang Seng Index up 2.8% to 24,402.17
  • Shanghai Composite up 0.8% to 3,597.43
  • Sensex up 1.0% to 61,200.72
  • Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.7% to 7,438.90
  • Kospi up 1.5% to 2,972.48
  • German 10Y yield little changed at -0.04%
  • Euro little changed at $1.1370
  • Brent Futures up 0.5% to $84.17/bbl
  • Gold spot down 0.3% to $1,815.68
  • U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 95.59

Top Overnight News from Bloomberg

  • Bank of France Governor Francois Villeroy de Galhau says the European Central Bank will do what is necessary to get inflation around 2% in the medium term
  • Natural gas prices are likely to remain high for the next two years, with very few options to boost supplies quickly, according to the chief executive of Britain’s biggest energy supplier
  • China’s inflation pressures moderated to 10.3% y/y in December, giving the central bank scope to cut interest rates to cushion the economy’s downturn just as most major nations look to tighten policy

A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk

Asia-Pac bourses traded positively as stocks took their cue from the energy and tech-led gains in the US where sentiment was underpinned as yields eased and focus centred on Fed Chair Powell's confirmation hearing where he noted that the Fed is prepared to act to control inflation if required but refrained from ramping up the hawkish rhetoric. ASX 200 (+0.7%) was led higher by strength in commodity-related sectors after gold made headway above the USD 1800/oz level and WTI crude notched its biggest gain in a month, while the tech sector was also inspired following the growth and duration bias stateside. Nikkei 225 (+1.9%) was underpinned amid the broad constructive mood and recent JPY weakening with Softbank among the top performers after it was reported to have repurchased around JPY 42.9bln of shares during December. Hang Seng (+2.8%) and Shanghai Comp. (+0.8%) also benefitted from the risk momentum with the former spearheaded by tech and energy shares including CNOOC which saw an initial double-digit percentage jump due to the rally in oil prices and after it raised its production guidance for 2022. However, the gains in the mainland were modest in comparison as Chinese property developers face key bond payments this week and with participants digesting softer than expected Chinese inflation data. Finally, 10yr JGBs clawed back yesterday’s losses following a rebound in USTs and despite the heightened risk appetite, while prices briefly stalled after the 5yr JGB auction showed weaker results across all metrics although this was only momentarily with further upside on a break above the 151.00 level.

Top Asian News

  • Asia Stocks Jump to Near 7-Week High After Powell’s Fed Remarks
  • Primavera, ABCI Are Said to Weigh Joining Hong Kong SPAC Race
  • Just Two Listings Priced in Slow Hong Kong IPO Start: ECM Watch
  • China’s Credit Stabilizes as PBOC Calls For More Home Loans

Overall a positive but choppy morning for European cash equities thus far (Euro Stoxx 50 +0.7%; Stoxx 600 +0.6%), with the regional mood underpinned by the upside seen on Wall Street and then across APAC markets. The gains were attributed to Powell refraining from sounding more hawkish, while noise has also been growing regarding the possibility for China to further ease monetary policy amid domestic growth concerns. US equity futures saw some mild selling shortly after the European cash open despite a lack of fundamental catalysts, and with action contained to the equity space – potentially as players take some chips off the table ahead of US CPI and following this week’s gains. Futures are back in modest positive territory at the time of writing, with the NQ (+0.2%) back to narrowly leading and the RTY (-0.1%) the slight laggard. Back to Europe, the region also saw some modest losses in lockstep with state-side futures but mostly remained in positive territory with relatively broad-based gains. The SMI (-0.2%) lags amid the pro-cyclical/anti-defensive nature of the European sector composition, with Healthcare and Food & Beverages at the bottom of the pile – thus exerting some pressure on heavyweights Roche (-1.5%) and Nestle (-0.6%). The sectors table sees Basic Resources, Oil & Gas and Tech towards the top – the former two amid price action in their respective complexes, and the latter tracking the sectoral gains on Wall Street and APAC. Taking a look at some individual movers, Just Eat Takeaway (+2%) and Sainsbury’s (+2%) gain on the LSE following trading updates, with the latter upping its guidance in the pre-market. The other end of the spectrum sees Philips (-14%) plumbing the depths after missing forecasts and reporting higher-than-expected costs. In terms of analyst commentary, Goldman Sachs has conformed to the view that European stocks will outperform this year as the US stocks’ outlook gets dimmer against the backdrop of a hawkish Fed; “The unusually high concentration of stocks within the S&P leaves it more vulnerable to pressures coming from antitrust regulation or higher bond yields”, the analysts said

Top European News

  • Gas Prices to Stay High for Next Two Years, Centrica CEO Says
  • Germany Tells Banks to Rebuild Capital Buffers as Lending Booms
  • Goldman’s Stehn Sees ECB Remaining Patient on Rate Hikes
  • WeTransfer to Kick Off Europe Listing Window With Amsterdam IPO

In FX, the Greenback is hovering off deeper post-NFP lows in advance of CPI data that is tipped to show another acceleration in headline terms, albeit due to base effects on a y/y basis, and could rekindle hawkish Fed policy vibes that were doused somewhat by chair Powell on Tuesday. To recap, at his renomination hearing in front of the Senate Banking Committee he was noncommittal on the timing for tightening and also pushed back on the notion that running down the balance sheet is likely to start soon after, if not immediately following lift-off and the end of tapering. Looking at the Dollar index as a proxy, a partial recovery in early European trade fell a fraction short of 95.700 and 95.500 is holding on the downside as Treasury yields meander between new cycle peaks and overnight retracement troughs awaiting the second leg of this week’s auction schedule in the form of Usd 36 bn 10 year notes alongside rhetoric from former Fed dove Kashkari.

  • CAD - Ongoing strength in crude prices is helping to keep the Loonie aloft, and Usd/Cad is now testing support and underlying bids around 1.2550 as a result. However, the 55 DMA comes in just below the half round number and could stall the fall as WTI encounters some resistance circa Usd 82/brl.
  • EUR/AUD/NZD/CHF/JPY/GBP - All narrowly mixed, marginally softer or off peaks against their US counterpart to be precise, with the Euro easing off after breaching 1.1350 and the 55 DMA on the way to peaking at 1.1378, the Aussie back under the 10 DMA having reached 0.7223 irrespective of softer than expected Chinese inflation metrics and the Kiwi fading from just a few pips shy of 0.6800 ahead of NZ building consents. Meanwhile, the Franc is maintaining 0.9250+ status, the Yen is staying afloat of the 115.50 mark after the BoJ upgraded its outlook for all 9 Japanese regions and Sterling retains a firm grip of the 1.3600 handle even though PM Johnson’s position is looking increasingly precarious as he heads for Question Time at the Commons. Note also, from a technical perspective there are several hurdles for Cable to overcome if its scales 1.3650, as Fibs sit at 1.3675 and 1.3706, while the 200 DMA resides at 1.3737.
  • SCANDI/EM - The Nok has extended gains through 10.0000 vs the Eur in wake of firmer than forecast Norwegian mainland GDP and much less contraction in the overall economy compared to the previous quarter, while the Sek has pared some losses from recent lows with encouragement from news that Sweden plans to offer compensation to households facing higher energy bills to the tune of Sek 6 bn. Elsewhere, the Rub is lagging amidst ongoing angst between Russia and the West and the Try has not really taken on board latest protestations from Turkish PM Erdogan about inflation not matching fundamentals and his promise to lower prices soon. Conversely, the softer Usd in general is propping up the Cnh and Cny following the aforementioned downturn in Chinese PPI and CPI, while the Zar is continuing its bull run regardless of Gold waning beyond Usd 1820/oz, the Czk has more hawkish remarks from CNB’s Mora to lean on and the Brl could also benefit from BCB Governor Campos Neto repeating that further is appropriate.

In commodities, WTI and Brent front-month futures initially gained following a period of consolidation in APAC hours, although recently the benchmarks have drifted off best levels. Prices are underpinned by the softer Buck heading into the US CPI metrics, with the former finding resistance at USD 82/bbl (vs low 81.17/bbl) and the latter extending above USD 84/bbl (vs low 83.52/bbl). News flow for the complex on the lighter side in the European morning. Eyes remain on the US CPI metrics, whilst China’s zero-COVID policy remains as a headwind to global demand, with China halting more flights and China's Tianjin locking down three districts due to the COVID outbreak, whilst the Dalian port also reported cases. From a data perspective, the contracts were little-swayed by the smaller-than-expected draw in Private Inventories, whilst the internals also saw a much larger-than-expected in gasoline stocks (+10.9mln vs exp. +2.4mln) but US NatGas futures remain firmer by some 4% at the time of writing. The EIA STEO yesterday meanwhile upped their 2022 oil prices forecast by almost USD 5/bbl vs last month but sees those levels falling throughout the year. In terms of geopolitics, France has poured some cold water on the recent optimism surrounding the Iranian nuclear deal, suggesting the sides are still some ways apart despite the reported progress. The Russian/Ukrainian front hasn’t seen any further developments thus far. Turning to metals, spot gold has been moving in lockstep with the Dollar and has waned off yesterday’s USD 1,822/oz best, with the downside seeing the 50 DMA (1,806), 21 DMA (1,803) and 200 DMA (1,801) ahead of the psychological USD 1,800/oz. Elsewhere, LME copper inches closer towards USD 10k/t from a USD 9,818/t intraday base, with the softer Dollar and upbeat mood in China spurring prices.

US Event Calendar

  • 7am: Jan. MBA Mortgage Applications 1.4%, prior -5.6%
  • 8:30am Dec. CPI data:
    • 8:30am: Dec. CPI YoY, est. 7.0%, prior 6.8%; MoM, est. 0.4%, prior 0.8%
    • 8:30am: Dec. CPI Ex Food and Energy YoY, est. 5.4%, prior 4.9%; MoM, est. 0.5%, prior 0.5%
    • 8:30am: Dec. Real Avg Hourly Earning YoY, prior -1.9%, revised -1.7%
    • 8:30am: Dec. Real Avg Weekly Earnings YoY, prior -1.9%
  • 2pm: U.S. Federal Reserve Releases Beige Book
  • 2pm: Dec. Monthly Budget Statement, est. -$5b, prior -$191.3b

DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap

While we’re advertising we have a vacancy in our credit team to work with Craig and myself. We’re looking for a VP level European IG credit strategist. The candidate needs to work in IG credit and is most suitable for someone of 5-8 year experience. Because of HR/compliance procedures applicants have to apply at the following link here a little more on the role can be found. I won’t be able to respond directly to anybody on this. So if you or anyone you know is interested please use the link above.

The highlight of the last 24 hours was Chair Powell’s renomination hearing before the Senate Banking Committee. The overall communicated stance of policy wasn’t much changed with the hawkish pivot still on. Nevertheless, there were a few incremental takeaways. Powell did nothing to push back on liftoff being on the table in March, in line with our US econ team’s call and the increasing probability implied by the market, which is currently 85%. He made it clear that QE (yes it’s still happening) would finish in March, despite speculations it may come to an abrupt halt beforehand. In line with growing consensus, he painted a picture that made the start of QT likely in 2022. Finally, on the overall stance of policy, he emphasised the Fed needs to pull back from extreme levels of accommodation, but didn’t need to rush to get to a neutral stance of policy.

All told, yields did rally with Powell after earlier climbing. Yields on 2yr Treasuries decreased -1.2bps while the 10yr dipped -2.5bps, with the bulk of declines again coming later in New York trading hours. All this ahead of the all-important December US CPI print later today? The print comes out at 13:30 London time, and as you’ll be familiar with by now, repeated upside surprises in the inflation data have sent the year-on-year numbers up to multi-decade highs, putting significant pressure on the Fed. Indeed if you look at the monthly headline CPI reading, 7 of the last 9 releases have come in above the consensus estimate on Bloomberg. In terms of what to expect this time around, our US economists think that year-on-year CPI will rise to +7.0%, which will be the highest annual CPI number since 1982. And if that figure is realised, it would also mean that the real Fed Funds rate in December was around -7%, which for reference is lower than at any point in the 1970s, when the lowest the fed funds rate got in real terms was around -5%.

Over in equity markets, US indices were buoyed by rates rallying, paring back their initial losses as Powell spoke. The S&P 500 was on track for a 6th consecutive loss for the first time since February 2020, before recovering its poise and ending the day up +0.92%, it’s first day in the green since the first trading day of the year. Sector dispersion was wide, as energy (+3.41%) saw a noticeable outperformance as Brent Crude (+3.52%) closed above its pre-Omicron closing level for the first time, reaching $83.72/bbl, just as WTI (+3.82%) also posted a decent advance. Meanwhile tech stocks continue to be the beneficiary of the calm in rates following their slump last week, with the NASDAQ surging +1.41% and the FANG+ index gaining +1.53%.

European equities had a strong day themselves yesterday, although to be fair they were catching up with the rally late in the US session they’d previously missed out on, with the STOXX 600 up +0.84%. The moves were enough to put the DAX (+1.10%) and the CAC 40 (+0.95%) back in positive territory on a YTD basis, and the continued rise in yields helped the STOXX Banks index (+0.28%) match a 3-year high set last Friday. Speaking of yields, there was generally a move higher across Europe yesterday, with those on 10yr bunds (+0.7bps), OATs (+1.6bps) and BTPs (+2.0bps) all rising, although gilts (-2.0bps) were the exception.

Markets across Asia are seeing a significant rally this morning led by gains in the Hang Seng (+2.12%) followed by the Nikkei (+1.85%) and Kospi (+1.39%). Elsewhere, in China, the Shanghai Composite (+0.35%) and CSI (+0.36%) are trading in the green, after the nation's consumer and producer inflation both moderated leaving room for the PBOC to ease monetary policy. With the inflation remaining subdued, the possibility of a rate cut in China would put the PBOC on a divergent path with the US Fed. Data released earlier revealed that producer prices advanced a less than expected +10.3% y/y last month while consumer prices (a key gauge of retail inflation) increased +1.5% y/y down from 2.3% in November, also short of economists’ forecasts (1.7%). Looking ahead, equity futures are indicating a steady start in DMs with the S&P 500 (+0.06%) and DAX (+0.55%) contracts trading in positive territory.

Turning to Covid, there were further signs yesterday that the Omicron wave in the UK was easing, which is potentially significant more broadly in that it was one of the first places among the advanced economies to be affected, particularly in London, and given that it has seen fairly light social restrictions. Yesterday saw the number of reported Covid cases fall to the lowest since December 27, and in England the number of patients on a mechanical ventilator fell to its lowest in almost 3 months as well, which backs up the argument that Omicron appears to be a milder form of Covid relative to previous variants.

In more DB advertising, we’ve just published the latest edition of The House View, a compilation of DB’s macro and strategy views in slide format. You can find the link here. In addition, in a new Podzept podcast, Tim Rokossa, Global co-ordinator of Automotive research, and Luke Templeman, discuss the 2022 outlook for the global automotive sector. Here’s the podcast (link here) and the associated report (link here).

There wasn’t much at all in the way of data yesterday, though the NFIB’s small business optimism index for December in the US rose to 98.9 (vs. 98.7 expected).

To the day ahead now, and the aforementioned US CPI release for December will be the highlight. Other data releases include Euro Area industrial production for November and the US monthly budget statement for December. From central banks, the Fed will be releasing their Beige Book, and speakers include BoE Deputy Governor Cunliffe and the Fed’s Kashkari.

Tyler Durden Wed, 01/12/2022 - 08:00

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Where Are Interest Rates Headed? Is The Fed Correct Or The Eurodollar Curve?

Where Are Interest Rates Headed? Is The Fed Correct Or The Eurodollar Curve?

Authored by Mike Shedlock via MishTalk.com,

The Eurodollar curve…

Published

on

Where Are Interest Rates Headed? Is The Fed Correct Or The Eurodollar Curve?

Authored by Mike Shedlock via MishTalk.com,

The Eurodollar curve implies four quarter-point cuts are on the way starting in 2023. The Fed believes otherwise. Let's discuss stock market implications.

Data from CME and Fed via Wall Street Journal.

Eurodollar Curve

The eurodollar curve has nothing to do with euros or dollars. Rather it is an interest rate curve and one of the world's most widely traded futures.

After peaking at about 3.9% this year, eurodollar betters believe the Fed will then cut rates all the way down to 2.8%. 

Five Not-Quite-Impossible Things the Market Believes

Wall Street Journal Contributor James Macintosh discussed the above chart in Five Not-Quite-Impossible Things the Market Believes

  1. Inflation is transitory. 

  2. The Fed realizes this in time.

  3. The jobs market cools enough to slow wage rises. 

  4. But not so much it means falling household spending.

  5. So consumer spending rises in real terms. 

In reference to the led chart, Macintosh says "The first assumption is the hardest to believe."

I disagree. The hardest thing to believe is the overall goldilocks scenario and that the current rally makes any sense at all. 

Inflation may easily come down if the Fed tightens too much too fast causing a severe recession. What would that do to corporate profits? 

But assume otherwise, that inflation does not come down more. What would that do to corporate profits? 

While any of the first three points may easily be correct, the combination of all five being correct and that stocks will rise in a goldilocks scenario is what I find hard to believe.

Is the Market Forward Looking?

Goldilocks proponents will tell you that the market is forward looking. 

The market isn't forward looking and never was. It is a coincident indicator of current sentiment, wildly wrong at major turns.

If the market was forward looking, what precisely was it looking forward to at the November 2007 peak with recession starting the next month? 

What was it looking forward to at the 1929 peak, the 1933 bottom, the 2009 bottom or any other top or bottom?

The Fed Will Hike Until It Breaks Something

I believe the eurodollar curve is more likely to be correct than the Fed. When has the Fed gotten much of anything correct?

The eurodollar view has two ways to win. The first is the Fed actually does tame inflation to the degree that it wants.

That's possible in a severe enough recession. And the global picture is easily weak enough for that to happen.

The second way the eurodollar curve might be correct is if the Fed breaks the credit market. 

The Fed would immediately reverse course, regardless of inflation, should that happen. 

Neither a credit event nor strong recession would be good for the stock market.

The least likely thing is that the Fed achieves a goldilocks soft landing. Yet, assume that happens. 

Macintosh says, and I agree, "The bull case that stocks and corporate bonds are pricing requires the combination of low joblessness and wage rises to allow spending to rise faster than inflation even after pandemic savings run out. But not so much faster that it hits capacity constraints and accelerates inflation."

The problem with goldilocks is stocks are priced so much beyond perfection that they may decline anyway. 

Globally Speaking 

  1. China Does Surprise Rate Cut to Help Its Economy, But It Won't Work

  2. German Costs to Ship by Barge are up Twenty Times and May Soon Be Impossible

  3. UK Average Electricity Cost Will Soar to $5,370 Per Year By 2023

  4. US Industries Are Buckling Under Pressure of Surging Electricity Costs

Good luck with goldilocks, especially with the Fed still hiking. 

*  *  *

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Tyler Durden Wed, 08/17/2022 - 09:45

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Bonds

Futures Tumble After UK Double-Digit Inflation Shock Sparks Surge In Yields

Futures Tumble After UK Double-Digit Inflation Shock Sparks Surge In Yields

Futures were grinding gingerly higher, perhaps celebrating the…

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Futures Tumble After UK Double-Digit Inflation Shock Sparks Surge In Yields

Futures were grinding gingerly higher, perhaps celebrating the end of the Cheney family's presence in Congress, and looked set to re-test Michael Hartnett bearish target of 4,328 on the S&P (which marked the peak of yesterday's meltup before a waterfall slide lower when spoos got to within half a point of the bogey), when algos and the few remaining carbon-based traders got a stark reminder that central banks will keep hammering risk assets after the UK reported a blistering CPI print, which at a double digit 10.1% was not only higher than the highest forecast, but was the highest in 40 years.

The print appeared to shock markets out of their month-long levitating complacency, and yields - both in the UK and the US - spiked...

... and with yields surging, futures had no choice but to notice and after trading at session highs just before the UK CPI print, they have since tumbled more than 40 points and were last down 0.85% or 37 points to 4,271.

Nasdaq 100 futures retreated 0.9% signaling a selloff in technology names will continue. The dollar rose as investors awaited the minutes of the Fed’s last policy meeting for clues on policy makers’ sensitivity to weaker economic data.

In US premarket trading, retail giant Target slumped 4% after reporting earnings that missed expectations despite still predicting a rebound. Applied Materials and PayPal dropped at least 1.3%. Tech stocks are the forefront of the growing pessimism over equity valuations on the back of Fed rate increases. The S&P 500 had posted a small gain on Tuesday, aided by earnings reports from retailers Walmart Inc. and Home Depot. Here are some of the other biggest U.S. movers today:

  • Manchester United (MANU US) rises as much as 17% in US premarket trading before trimming most of the gains, after Tesla CEO Elon Musk said he was buying the English football club but later added that he was joking.
  • Hill International (HIL US) shares rise 61% in premarket trading hours after it announced Global Infrastructure Solutions will commence an all-cash tender offer for $2.85/share in cash, representing a premium of 63% to the last closing price.
  • BioNTech (BNTX US) was initiated with a market perform recommendation at Cowen, which expects demand for Covid-19 vaccines to mirror annual flu trends as the pandemic enters its endemic phase.
  • Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY US) shares surge 20% in premarket trading, putting the stock on track for its sixth day of gains. The home-goods company has helped reinvigorate a wave of meme stock buying
  • Agilent (A US) saw its price target boosted at brokers as analysts say the scientific testing equipment maker’s results were strong thanks to growth in biopharma and a recovery in China, while the company’s guidance was on the conservative side. Shares rose .
  • Jefferies initiated coverage of Waldencast Plc (WALD US) class A with a buy recommendation as analyst Stephanie Wissink sees 29% upside potential.
  • Sea Ltd. (SE US) ADRs slipped as much as 2.1% in US premarket trading, extending Tuesday’s declines, as Morgan Stanley cut its PT on expectations of slowing growth at the Shopee owner’s e-commerce business in the third quarter.
  • Weber (WEBR US) downgraded to sell from neutral at Citi, which says there are too many concerns to remain on the sidelines, including a decline in point-of-sale traffic and macro factors like inflation weighing on consumer demand

In the past two months, US stocks rallied on signs of peaking inflation and an earnings-reporting season that saw four out of five companies meeting or beating estimates. Boosted by relentless systematic (CTA) buying and retail-driven short squeezes, as well as a surge in buybacks, stocks recovered more than 50% of the bear market retracement. Yet, continuing rate hikes and the likelihood of a recession in the world’s largest economy are weighing on sentiment. Meanwhile, concern is growing that Fed rate setters will remain focused on the fight against inflation rather than supporting growth.

“We expect the FOMC minutes to have a hawkish tilt,” Carol Kong, strategist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia Ltd., wrote in a note. “We would not be surprised if the minutes show the FOMC considered a 100 basis-point increase in July.”

In Europe, the Stoxx 600 fell after a strong start amid signs the continent’s energy crisis is worsening. Benchmark natural-gas futures jumped as much as 5.1% on expectations the hot weather will boost demand for cooling. In the UK, consumer-price growth jumped to 10.1%, sending gilts tumbling. Real estate, retailers and miners are the worst performing sectors. The Stoxx 600 Real Estate Index declined 2%, making it the worst-performing sector in the wider European market, as focus turned to UK inflation that soared to double digits for the first time in four decades and also to today's FOMC minutes. German and Swedish names almost exclusively account for the 10 biggest decliners. TAG Immobilien drops 5.4%, Wallenstam is down 4.7%, Castellum falls 4% and LEG Immobilien declines 3.3%. The sector tumbles on rising bond yields, with 10y Bund yield up 11bps, and dwindling demand for Swedish real estate amid rising rates.

Earlier on Wednesday, stocks rose in Asia amid speculation that China may deploy more stimulus to shore up its ailing economy while Japanese exporters were boosted by a weaker yen. After a string of weak data driven by a property-sector slump and Covid curbs, China’s Premier Li Keqiang asked local officials from six key provinces that account for 40% of the economy to bolster pro-growth measures. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index advanced as much as 0.8%, with consumer-discretionary and industrial stocks such as Japanese automakers Toyota and Honda among the leaders on Wednesday. The benchmark Topix erased its year-to-date loss. Chinese food-delivery platform Meituan also rebounded after dropping more than 9% in the previous session on a Reuters report that Tencent may divest its stake in the firm. Chinese stocks erased declines early in the day, as investors hoped for more economic stimulus after a surprise rate cut on Monday failed to excite the market. Premier Li Keqiang has asked local officials from six key provinces that account for about 40% of the country’s economy to bolster pro-growth measures.

“I believe policymakers have the tools to prevent a hard landing if needed,” Kristina Hooper, chief global market strategist at Invesco, said in a note. “I find investors are overly pessimistic about Chinese stocks -- which means there is the potential for positive surprise.” Asia’s stock benchmark is trading at mid-June levels as traders attempt to determine the trajectory of interest-rate hikes and economic growth globally -- as well as the impact of China’s property crisis and Covid policies. Meanwhile, minutes of the US Federal Reserve’s July policy meeting, out later Wednesday, will be carefully parsed. New Zealand stocks closed little changed as the country’s central bank raised interest rates by a half percentage point for a fourth-straight meeting. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.3% to close at 7,127.70, supported by materials and consumer discretionary stocks. South Korea’s benchmark missed out on the rally across Asian equities, as losses by large-cap exporters weighed on the measure

In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index rose as the dollar gained versus most of its Group-of-10 peers. The pound was the best G-10 performer while gilts slumped, led by the short end and sending 2-year yields to their highest level since 2008, after UK inflation accelerated more than expected in July. The yield curve inverted the most since the financial crisis as traders ratcheted up bets on BOE rate hikes in money markets, wagering on 200 more basis points of hikes by May. The euro traded in a narrow range against the dollar while the region’s bonds slumped, led by the front end. Scandinavian currencies recovered some early European session losses while the aussie, kiwi and yen extended their slide in thin trading. EUR/NOK one-day volatility touched a 15.12% high before paring ahead of Norges Bank’s meeting Thursday where it may have to raise rates by a bigger margin than indicated in June given Norway’s inflation exceeded forecasts for a fourth straight month, hitting a new 34-year high. Consumer sentiment in Norway fell to the lowest level since data began in 1992, according to Finance Norway. New Zealand’s dollar and bond yields both rose in response to the Reserve Bank hiking rates by 50bps, while flagging concern about labor market pressures and consequent wage inflation; the currency subsequently gave up gains in early European trading. The Aussie slumped after data showing the nation’s wages advanced at less than half the pace of inflation in the three months through June, backing the Reserve Bank’s move to give itself more flexibility on interest rates.

In rates, treasuries held losses incurred during European morning as gilt yields climbed after UK inflation rose more than forecast. US 10-year around 2.87% is 6.5bp cheaper on the day vs ~13bp for UK 10-year; UK curve aggressively bear-flattened following inflation data, with long-end yields rising about 10bp. Front-end UK yields remain cheaper by ~20bp, off session highs, leading a global government bond selloff. US yields are higher on the day by by 4bp-7bp; focal points of US session are 20-year bond auction and FOMC minutes release an hour later. Treasury auctions resume with $15b 20-year bond sale at 1pm ET; WI 20-year yield at around 3.35% is ~7bp richer than July’s sale, which stopped 2.7bp through the WI level.

In commodities, oil fluctuated between gains and losses, and was in sight of a more than six-month low -- reflecting lingering worries about a tough economic outlook amid high inflation and tightening monetary policy.  Spot gold is little changed at $1,774/oz

Looking at the day ahead, the FOMC minutes from July will be the main highlight, and the other central bank speaker will be Fed Governor Bowman. Otherwise, earnings releases include Target, Lowe’s and Cisco Systems, and data releases include US retail sales and UK CPI for July.

Market Snapshot

  • S&P 500 futures down 0.3% to 4,293.00
  • STOXX Europe 600 little changed at 443.30
  • MXAP up 0.5% to 163.48
  • MXAPJ up 0.2% to 530.38
  • Nikkei up 1.2% to 29,222.77
  • Topix up 1.3% to 2,006.99
  • Hang Seng Index up 0.5% to 19,922.45
  • Shanghai Composite up 0.4% to 3,292.53
  • Sensex up 0.5% to 60,168.83
  • Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.3% to 7,127.68
  • Kospi down 0.7% to 2,516.47
  • German 10Y yield little changed at 1.06%
  • Euro little changed at $1.0178
  • Gold spot down 0.0% to $1,775.21
  • U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 106.50

Top Overnight News from Bloomberg

  • More market prognosticators are alighting on the idea of benchmark Treasury yields sliding to 2% if the US succumbs to a recession. That’s an out-of-consensus call, compared with Bloomberg estimates of about a 3% level by the end of this year and similar levels through 2023. But it’s a sign of how growth worries are forcing a rethink in some quarters
  • The euro-area economy grew slightly less than initially estimated in the second quarter as signs continue to emerge that momentum is unraveling. Output rose 0.6% from the previous three months between April and June, compared with a preliminary reading of 0.7%, Eurostat said Wednesday
  • Egypt became a prime destination for hot money by tethering its currency and boasting the world’s highest interest rates when adjusted for inflation
  • Norway’s $1.3 trillion sovereign wealth fund, the world’s largest, posted its biggest loss since the pandemic as rate hikes, surging inflation and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine spurred volatility. It lost an equivalent of $174 billion in the six months through June, or 14.4%

A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk

Asia-Pac stocks just about shrugged off the choppy lead from the US where markets were tentative amid mixed data signals and strong retailer earnings, but with gains capped overnight ahead of the FOMC Minutes and as participants digested another 50bps rate hike by the RBNZ. ASX 200 swung between gains and losses with the index indecisive amid a slew of earnings and with strength in the consumer sectors offset by underperformance in tech, energy and healthcare. Nikkei 225 climbed above the 29,000 level with the index unfazed by mixed data releases in which Machinery Orders disappointed although both Exports and Imports topped forecasts. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp were somewhat varied with Hong Kong led higher by tech amid plenty of attention on Meituan after reports its largest shareholder Tencent could reduce all or the bulk of its shares in the Co. which a Tencent executive later refuted, while the mainland was less decisive amid headwinds from the ongoing COVID situation and with power restrictions disrupting activity in Sichuan, although reports also noted that Chinese Premier Li told top provincial officials that they must have a sense of urgency to consolidate the economic recovery and reiterated to step up macro policies.

Top Asian News

  • RBNZ hiked the OCR by 50bps to 3.00%, as expected, while it stated that conditions need to continue to tighten and they agreed that maintaining the current pace of tightening remains the best means. RBNZ also agreed that further increases in the OCR were required to meet the remit objective and that domestic inflationary pressures had increased since May. Furthermore, the RBNZ raised its projections for the OCR and inflation with the OCR seen at 3.69% in Dec. 2022 (prev. 3.41%) and at 4.1% for both Sept. 2023 and Dec. 2023 (prev. 3.95%), while it sees annual CPI at 4.1% by Sept. 2023 (prev. 3.0%).
  • RBNZ Governor Orr stated at the press conference that they are not forecasting a recession but expected below-potential growth amid subdued consumer spending. Governor Orr also stated that they did not discuss a 75bps rate hike today and that 50bps moves have been orderly and sufficient, while he added that getting rates to 4% would buy comfort for the policy committee and that a Cash Rate of around 4% is unambiguously above neutral and sufficient to meet the inflation mandate.
  • Chongqing, China is to curb power use for eight days for industry.
  • China’s Infrastructure Boom Gets Swamped by Property Woes
  • Tencent 2Q Revenue Misses Estimates
  • Hong Kong Denies Democracy Advocates Security Law Jury Trial
  • UN Expert Says Xinjiang Forced Labor Claims ‘Reasonable’
  • Singapore’s COE Category B Bidding Hits New Record
  • Delayed Deals Add to Floundering Singapore IPO Market: ECM Watch

European bourses have dipped from initial mixed/flat performance and are modestly into negative territory, Euro Stoxx 50 -0.5%. Stateside, futures are under similar pressure awaiting fresh corporate updates and the July FOMC Minutes, ES -0.6%. Fresh drivers relatively limited throughout the session with known themes in play and focus on upcoming risk events; stocks also suffering on further hawkish yield action. Lowe's Companies Inc (LOW) Q1 2023 (USD): EPS 4.68 (exp. 4.58), Revenue 27.47 (exp. 28.12bln); expect FY22 total & comp. sales at bottom-end of outlook range, Operating Income and Diluted EPS at top-end. Target Corp (TGT) Q1 2023 (USD): EPS 0.39 (exp. 0.72), Revenue 26.0bln (exp. 26.04bln); current trends support prior guidance.

Top European News

  • German Gas to Last Less Than 3 Months if Russia Cuts Supply
  • European Gas Surges Again as Higher Demand Compounds Supply Pain
  • Entain Falls; Citi Views Fine Negatively but Notes Steps by Firm
  • UK Inflation Hits Double Digits for the First Time in 40 Years
  • Crypto.com Receives Registration as UK Cryptoasset Provider

FX

  • Greenback underpinned ahead of US retail sales data and FOMC minutes, DXY holds tight around 106.500.
  • Pound pegged back after spike in wake of stronger than expected UK inflation metrics, Cable hovers circa 1.2100 after fade into 1.2150.
  • Kiwi retreats following knee jerk rise on the back of hawkish RBNZ hike, NZD/USD near 0.6300 from 0.6380+ overnight peak.
  • Aussie undermined by marginally softer than anticipated wage prices and lower RBA tightening bets in response, AUD/USD well under 0.7000 vs 0.7026 at one stage.
  • Yen weaker as yield differentials widen again, but Euro cushioned by more pronounced EGB reversal vs USTs, USD/JPY probes 21 DMA just below 135.00, EUR/USD bounces from around 1.0150 towards 1.0200.
  • Loonie and Nokkie soft amidst latest slippage in oil, USD/CAD closer to 1.2900 than 1.2800, EUR/NOK nudging 9.8600 within 9.8215-9.8740 range.

Fixed Income

  • Debt retracement ongoing and gathering pace ahead of Wednesday's key risk events.
  • Bunds now closer to 154.00 than 156.00 and 157.00 only yesterday, Gilts not far from 114.50 vs almost 116.00 and 117.00+ earlier this week and T-note sub-119-00 vs 119-31 at best on Monday.
  • Sonia strip hit hardest as markets price in aggressive BoE hikes in response to UK inflation data toppy already elevated expectations.

Commodities

  • Crude benchmarks are currently little changed overall, having recovered from a bout of initial pressure; newsflow thin awaiting fresh JCPOA developments
  • Spot gold is little changed overall but with a slight negative bias as the USD remains resilient and outpaces the yellow metal as the haven of choice.
  • Aluminium is the clear outperformer amid updates from Norsk Hydro that they are shutting production at their Slovalco site (175k/T year) by end-September, due to elevated energy prices.
  • OPEC Sec Gen says he sees a likelihood of an oil-supply squeeze this year, open for dialogue with the US. Still bullish on oil demand for 2022. Too soon to call the outcome of the September 5th gathering. Spare capacity at around the 2-3mln BPD mark, "running on thin ice".
  • US Private Inventory Data (bbls): Crude -0.4mln (exp. -0.3mln), Cushing +0.3mln, Gasoline -4.5mln (exp. -1.1mln), Distillates -0.8mln (exp. +0.4mln).
  • Shell (SHEL LN) announced it is to shut its Gulf of Mexico Odyssey and Delta crude pipelines for two weeks in September for maintenance, according to Reuters.
  • Uniper (UN01 GY) says the energy supply situation in Europe is far from easing and gas supply in winter remains "extremely challenging".
  • China sets the second batch of the 2022 rare earth mining output quota at 109.2k/T, via Industry Ministry; smelting/separation quota 104.8k/T.

Geopolitics

  • China's military is to partake in a military exercise in Russia, their participation has nothing to do with the international situation.
  • Taiwan's Defence Ministry says they have detected 21 Chinese aircraft and five ships around Taiwan on Wednesday, via Reuters.
  • Iran is calling on the US to free jailed Iranian's, says they are prepared for prisoner swaps, via Fars.

US Event Calendar

  • 07:00: Aug. MBA Mortgage Applications, prior 0.2%
  • 08:30: July Retail Sales Advance MoM, est. 0.1%, prior 1.0%
  • 08:30: July Retail Sales Ex Auto MoM, est. -0.1%, prior 1.0%
  • 08:30: July Retail Sales Control Group, est. 0.6%, prior 0.8%
  • 10:00: June Business Inventories, est. 1.4%, prior 1.4%
  • 14:00: July FOMC Meeting Minutes

DB's Tim Wessel concludes the overnight wrap

Starting in Europe, where the looming energy crisis remains at the forefront. An update from our team, who just published the fourth edition of their indispensable gas monitor (link here), where they note the surprisingly fast rebuild of German gas storage, driven by reductions in industrial activity, reduces the risk that rationing may become reality this winter. Many more insights within, so do read the full piece for analysis spanning scenarios. Keep in mind, that while gas may be available, it is set to come at a higher clearing price, which manifest itself in markets yesterday where European natural gas futures rose a further +2.64% to €226 per megawatt-hour, just shy of their closing record at €227 in March. But, that’s still well beneath their intraday high from March, where at one point they traded at €345. Further, one-year German power futures increased +6.30%, breaching €500 for the first time, closing at €507. Germany is weighing consumer relief measures in light of climbing consumer prices and also announced that planned nuclear facility closures would be “temporarily” postponed.

The upward energy price pressure and attenuated (albeit, not eliminated) risk of rationing pushed European sovereign yields higher. 10yr German bunds climbed +7.1bps to 0.97%, while 10yr OATs kept the pace, increasing +7.4bps. 10yr BTPs increased +15.9bps, widening sovereign spreads, while high yield crossover spreads widened +10.2bps in the credit space.

Equities were resilient, however, with the STOXX 600 posting a +0.16% gain after flitting around a narrow range all day. Regional indices were also robust to climbing energy prices, with the DAX up +0.68% and the CAC +0.34% higher. In the States the S&P 500 registered a modest +0.19% gain, with the NASDAQ mirroring the index, falling -0.19%. Retail shares drove the S&P on the day, with the two consumer sectors both gaining more than +1%, following strong earnings reports from Wal Mart and Home Depot.

Treasury yields also climbed, but the story was the further flattening in the curve. 2yr yields were +7.5bps higher while 10yr yields managed to increase just +1.6bps, leaving 2s10s at its second most negative close of the cycle at -46bps. 10yr yields are another basis point higher this morning. A hodgepodge of data painted a mixed picture. Housing permits beat expectations (+1674k vs. +1640k) while starts (+1446k vs. +1527k) fell to their slowest pace since February 2021. However, under the hood, even permits weren’t necessarily as strong as first glance, as single family permits fell -4.3% with gains in multifamily pushing the aggregate higher. Indeed, year-over-year, single family permits have now fallen -11.7% while multifamily permits are +23.5% higher. So the single family housing market continues to feel the impact of Fed tightening. Meanwhile, industrial production climbed +0.6% month-over-month (vs. +0.3%), with capacity utilization hitting its highest level since 2008 at 80.3%.

Drifting north of the border, Canadian inflation slowed to 7.6% YoY in July in line with estimates, while the average of core measures climbed to a record 5.3%. Bank of Canada Governor Macklem penned an opinion piece saying that while it looks like inflation may have peaked, “the bad news is that inflation will likely remain too high for some time.” In turn, Canadian OIS rates by December climbed +16.2bps.

In other data, the expectations component of the German ZEW survey fell to -55.3, its lowest level since October 2008 at the depths of the GFC. In the UK, regular pay (excluding bonuses) fell by -3.0% in real terms over the year to April-June 2022, its fastest decline on record.

On the Iranian nuclear deal, EU negotiators reportedly found Iran’s response constructive, though Iran still had some concerns. Notably, Iran is looking for guarantees that if a future US administration withdraws from the JCPOA the US will "have to pay a price”, seeking insulation from the vagaries of representative democracy.

Asian equity markets are trading higher after Wall Street’s solid performance overnight. The Nikkei (+0.76%) is leading gains across the region with the Hang Seng (+0.57%), the Shanghai Composite (+0.23%) and the CSI (+0.51%) all rebounding from its opening losses this morning. US futures are struggling to gain traction this morning with the S&P 500 (-0.02%) and NASDAQ 100 (-0.09%) trading just below flat.

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand lifted its official cash rate (OCR) for the fourth consecutive time by an expected +50bps to 3%, a seven-year high, while bringing forward the estimate of future rate increases. The central bank expects the OCR will reach 3.69% at the end of this year and expects it to peak at 4.1% in March 2023, higher and sooner than previously forecast.

Early morning data coming out from Japan showed that exports rose +19.0% y/y in July (v/s +17.6% expected) posting 17 straight months of gains while imports advanced +47.2% (v/s +45.5% expected) driven by global fuel inflation and a weakening yen. With the imports outweighing exports, the nation reported trade deficit for the 14th consecutive month, swelling to -2.13 trillion yen in July (v/s -1.91 trillion yen expected) compared to a revised deficit of -1.95 trillion yen in June.

In terms of the day ahead, the FOMC minutes from July will be the main highlight, and the other central bank speaker will be Fed Governor Bowman. Otherwise, earnings releases include Target, Lowe’s and Cisco Systems, and data releases include US retail sales and UK CPI for July.

Tyler Durden Wed, 08/17/2022 - 07:55

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Economics

S&P 3500 By Year End If QT Continues

"Don’t Fight the Fed" echoes through the financial media, Wall Street, and in the minds of retail and institutional investors. The phrasing pertaining…

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“Don’t Fight the Fed” echoes through the financial media, Wall Street, and in the minds of retail and institutional investors. The phrasing pertaining to Fed-generated liquidity is often the sole basis for investors to chase bull markets when the Fed employs easy monetary policy. Unfortunately, some investors forget the phrase is equally meaningful when the Fed is not friendly to markets. As we share in this article, we have developed a model to track Fed liquidity, allowing us to quantify the Fed’s influence on the S&P 500.

Before unveiling our liquidity formula and its forecast for the S&P 500, it’s essential to discuss the three primary drivers by which the Fed is influencing liquidity: Reverse Repurchase (RRP), Treasury General Account (TGA), and the Fed’s balance sheet.

Reverse Repurchase Agreements (RRP)

The New York Fed uses numerous repo programs to manage the supply of cash in the banking system, thereby maintaining the Fed Funds rates within the FOMC’s target range. Currently, they are employing its RRP program to accomplish this task. In an RRP transaction, the Fed sells securities to a counterparty and simultaneously agrees to repurchase them at a future date. The duration is often overnight. The transaction temporarily reduces the supply of money from the banking system. Increasing daily RRP balances results in less system liquidity, and a declining balance reduces liquidity.

As shown below, RRP has been around for 20 years but was scarcely used until early 2021. The various pandemic-related rounds of fiscal stimulus and massive Fed liquidity efforts left banks and money market funds with excessive levels of cash. The excess liquidity would have pushed the Fed Funds rate lower than the target rate without the RRP program. As such, RRP sucks up liquidity, making Fed Funds easier for the Fed to manage.

The Fed has other repo tools, such as repurchase agreements and the standing repo facility, which can dampen money market rates by providing the banking system with liquidity.

The RRP facility has been increasing rapidly and now sits at over $2 trillion daily. Rising RRP balances are a drain on liquidity.

As money market yields rise with Fed Funds and asset markets perform poorly, investors tend to prefer higher cash balances. Such should keep RRP levels elevated for the time being.

Treasury General Account (TGA)

The Treasury General Account is the U.S. Treasury Department’s checking account. The account is held at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Like your checking account, the TGA receives deposits (tax receipts and proceeds from debt issuance) and makes payments.

The Fed doesn’t manage the TGA balances, but the surplus cash balance held at the Fed affects banking system liquidity. Fed liabilities (bank reserves) must equal its assets. Bank reserves are fodder allowing banks to make loans and, by default, print money. When the TGA account increases, bank reserves must fall, reducing banking system liquidity. Conversely, a shrinking TGA account adds reserves and liquidity to the banking system.

The graph below shows that TGA balances are elevated versus the pre-pandemic years but have fallen as the banking system normalizes from the massive fiscal cash injections. It will likely drop a bit more, but the TGA will not significantly impact liquidity, barring unusual circumstances.

tga account

Fed Balance Sheet

The Fed’s assets, mainly Treasury bonds and Mortgage-Backed Securities (MBS), are the liquidity elephant in the room. Its assets currently account for 75% of total Fed-sponsored liquidity and historically average over 90%.

When the Fed does Quantitative Easing (QE), they remove securities from the bond markets and, in their place, leaves reserves with the banks. Again, bank reserves can lead to loan creation which is the creation of new money. Ergo, QE adds to the system’s liquidity. Conversely, Quantitative Tightening (QT) removes liquidity and reserves from the system and increases the amount of securities in the market.

For this reason, QE tends to be bullish for stocks, and QT is bearish. 

Liquidity and Stock Prices

With an understanding of the three key factors driving banking system liquidity, we can create a Fed liquidity model. The size of the Fed’s assets less the sum of the TGA and RRP equals the amount of Fed-generated liquidity in the system. Recent changes in net liquidity shed light on how the S&P 500 trends.

The two graphs below compare the liquidity measure and the S&P 500. The first graph shows how the S&P 500 rose in line with liquidity through 2021, and both reversed simultaneously to start 2022. The dotted lines are quarterly moving averages to help smooth out the data. The moving averages track each other almost perfectly this year. The green dashed line forecasts liquidity based solely on the Fed’s plan to reduce its balance sheet by $95 billion a month. The S&P 500 could be close to 3500 by year-end if they follow through with their QT plans and the correlation holds up.

The second graph shares the same data but in scatter plot form. The correlation between liquidity and the S&P 500 is statistically significant, with an R-squared of 0.57. The orange dot shows the S&P 500 is about 3% overpriced based on liquidity.

liquidity Fed
liquidity S&P 500

The model does have an important caveat. Other factors become the predominant driver of market returns when the Fed is inactive and liquidity is relatively stable.  

Summary

The Fed is not the only game in town, but they are the biggest game in town. While many other factors account for stock price performance, liquidity may be the most important to grasp.

To drive home this point, recall March 2020, when covid struck the economy. Global economies were shutting down worldwide. Unemployment was soaring, and the economy was careening toward a depression. Despite zero clarity on the economic future, stocks began to rally strongly in late March. Why? Liquidity via fiscal stimulus and a surge in Fed QE purchases drove markets higher. The economic situation was awful, and earnings outlooks were crumbling, but liquidity trumped fundamentals. 

By accepting what the Fed does, right or wrong, and closely following its actions, we can quantify how liquidity will steer markets. On top of fundamental and technical analysis, this additional layer of research helps us better navigate the market’s twists, turns, and trends when the Fed is active.

The post S&P 3500 By Year End If QT Continues appeared first on RIA.

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